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Read the Jester King v. TABC filings

Yesterday, Jester King announced that it was suing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to the unanimous praise of craft beer drinkers everywhere. Well, we got the filings now. Both parties are requesting that this not go to trial. According to

“Cross motions” always travel in pairs, as each party files a motion on the same issue and as part of the same process.

Cross-motions for summary judgment are part of a pre-trial process in which both parties submit briefs to the judge, arguing that no trial is needed to determine the relevant facts in the case.

Cross-motions for summary judgment may occur even if the parties have different versions of the facts. In that event, both motions will be denied.

I started to skim through the 50 pages here and will continue to do so through the course of the day. First thing that jumped out is that the two co-plaintiffs with Jester King are a distributor, Authentic Beverage Co., and a restaurant, Zax in Austin.

Better yet, if anyone out there is a lawyer/attorney and would like to chime in, please do so in the comments.

Jester King motion

TABC Motion

Big thanks to Jared of PhillyTapFinder for grabbing these for us.



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9 thoughts on “Read the Jester King v. TABC filings

  1. Constitutional issues almost never go to trial, because the issues are purely law based – not fact. There are virtually no disputed facts over what happened and so the parties are entitled to have the lawsuit determined as a matter of law.

    Summary judgment is intended to nip disputes in the bud before wasting thousands of dollars in legal fees and tax dollars.

    Here, Jester King is up against a difficult task. Booze is heavily regulated and states have strong interests in regulating how it is produced, marketed and sold. The interesting argument here is whether the state’s means of regulating booze actually serves that interest.

    Does improperly labeling a product recognized otherwise by the mass consumer base actually help better inform the consumer? Surely not.

    Does preventing the direct sale of beer from one type of beer producer while allowing it from another almost identical producer serve a governmental purpose? Probably not.

    Does prohibiting brewers from providing public information about the location and availability of alcoholic beverage help to sustain a government’s interest? Maybe, depending on whether that purpose of reducing consumption or preventing brewers from looking like distributors.

    I think that Texas, and several other states, will have trouble upholding some of the labeling regulations, but laws directly resulting from the three-tier model regulations may prevail. Regardless, its a clear sign that Texas needs to take the time to better understand an industry that has grown incredibly over the past decade.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Disclaimer: I’m a law student in Texas, not a licensed attorney. Do not rely on this analysis.

    Since these are constitutional challenges in a federal court, there are a lot of things required to be able to bring the claims. From TABC’s brief, it appears that most the plaintiff’s claims are going to be thrown out. In addition, Plaintiffs package most of their claims as First Amendment claims, but as the TABC rightly points out, states are given great power to regulate commerce. This means that plaintiffs will not prevail on most of their claims, save one.

    The Free Speech claim challenging the restrictions on brewers not being able to tell the public where their products are sold is strong. My knowledge of 1st amendment commercial speech claims is weak, but if plaintiffs have correctly stated the standard, then they are likely correct that the restriction is unconstitutional. TABC appears to concede that the regulation serves no substantial government interest, and doesn’t really address the regulation head on in its own brief.

    I would love to see major reforms to Texas beverage laws, but other than the one free speech claim, it appears the change will have to be legislative.

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  4. I am currently writing an argumentative research paper on Texas beer law reformation and wanted to know where to find these filings from the state so I can cite them properly.

    If you could shoot me an email or if anyone reading this happens to know this offhand, it would be greatly appreciated.

  5. …and now I realize that my email address won’t be published along with my comment.

    I’ll continue searching for the original source on my own but would still appreciate if anyone knew it offhand.

    Andy Hendricks
    [email protected]

    Thanks in advance.

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